Adelaide Crows AFLW coach Matthew Clarke believes co-captain Chelsea Randall should “in theory” be ready for 2021 pre-season.
Randall suffered an ACL rupture ahead of the fourth AFLW season, ruling her out for the year.
Despite the difficulties of undertaking rehabilitation at home, Clarke expected the 28-year-old to come back “stronger than ever”.
“Chelsea’s injury was really challenging, really frustrating… and unfortunately we’ve been through the scenario a couple of times,” Clarke told AFC Media.
“Chels will come back the same, she’s working unbelievably hard at the moment.
“Because she did it on the first day of pre-season, in theory she’ll be back on the first day of pre-season next year.”
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Adelaide has endured a string of ACL injuries in the AFLW side over the past 18 months, including co-captain Erin Phillips, Chloe Scheer and Rhiannon Metcalfe.
Clarke said it was always challenging for a coach to watch players go through that.
"It takes the joy out of footy,” he said.
“What’s really important is with each of our players that have endured it, their recovery has been really thorough.”
Adelaide suffered a tough Round Six loss to GWS, effectively ending the Crows’ chances of finals (albeit moot due to the coronavirus pandemic).
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Clarke described the loss as one that “sits with you”.
“It was a disappointing end to the season to be honest,” he said.
“We performed below our expectation when ultimately we believed we had enough talent on the park.
“We walk away pretty dissatisfied, but I know it’s spurred the players into action and they’re already thinking about season five.”